As much as I love the giant video wall at 81 Bay Brewing in Tampa, and their huge video game system which needs to be seen to be believed, and their art gallery, and their amazing beers, I now have a new favorite reason to go there.
Namely their brewery cat Mittens.
How can I not love a brewery that has a cat on staff 24/7? It’s like the best of both worlds; I get good beer and I get to pet a fluffy cat. Heck, Mittens has her own Instagram account, which I am happily following. Pretty sure she also has her own merchandise, too.
Now I’m not sure any of the beers that I just tried were available when Mittens arrived, but they’re available now. And it’s worth the trip out there to try them, if you can drag yourself away from the kitty:
Key Lime Sour Ale (Sour Ale, 4.6% ABV) – Lactose and vanilla take this sour ale from being another fruited Floridaweisse and make it as close to a key lime pie as you can get without adding whipped cream. Incredibly delicious, maybe dangerously so.
Raspberry Peach Cobbler Sour Ale (Sour Ale, 4.6% ABV) – I don’t know if it has the adjuncts as the previous sour ale, but the raspberry and the peach work well together and you get a nice tart beer, which still revels in its fruitiness.
Yeastbound and Brown (Brown Ale, 5.4% ABV, 21 IBU) – it’s a classic, slightly nutty brown ale, perfect in its simplicity.
Coriander Orange Wheat (Wheat Ale, 5.8% ABV) – Just a tad darker than your average witbier, this still has a lot of the great citrus qualities and slight coriander kick of its traditional Belgian cousin.
Coffee Porter (Porter, 6% ABV, 15 IBU) – Lucky Goat Coffee abounds in this dark, easy to drink beer. It’s nice and rich, with a lot of great flavors to it.
Dark Particles (Sweet Stout, 8% ABV) – Lactose this is your classic sweet stout, a little on the chewy side, which is definitely a boon for those liking a slightly more meaty milk stout experience.
Ft. Brooke Blonde Ale (Blonde Ale, 5% ABV, 17 IBU) – it was hard to see too many details since 81 Bay has its Best Florida Beer gold medal hanging from their menu sign. With this blonde ale, however, you’ve got a light body, slight biscuity malt flavor, and just a touch above standard Noble hoppiness. Nothing too intense, and definitely no dankness here, but just enough to mix things up a bit.
Nugget Rush (Pale Ale, 5% ABV) – Here you get a little bit more alpha acids as a good, earthy hop quality pervades a quality medium golden ale experience.
Does Mittens crash through the roof of the art gallery? Sometimes. Should you expect to find cat hair in any of the beers? That is not going to happen. Mittens is better than that.
She does make another great reason to visit another great brewery in the Bay Area, though.
Drink Florida Craft,